Bangalore: Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings on Friday said he hoped to see Virat Kohli leading India to the number one position in world cricket in the next five years, provided he maintains his cool while captaining the national side.
"Virat understands he has a hot head and also understands he needs to look at that. He is young enough to accept these issues and I think he needs time to rectify those issues. He is not a stupid cricketer. He is a smart guy and has ambition to captain India," Jennings said.
"If he makes the same mistakes consistently you are going to find out that the system is not going to buy into his style of behaviour or character. I think if the Indian cricket is smart it needs need to get a group of people around Virat and mentor him for a period of time.
Jennings said he saw similarities between South African captain Greame Smith and Kohli as they lead the team from the front.
"I don't think you get leaders. He is a leader and I have seen him change. Last year he didn't spend as much time in the gym. He is a gym fanatic and leads from the front. Hopefully after five years I can sit back and see Virat lead India to No. 1 position in the world," Jennings told reporters here.
Kohli has been batting impressively over the past couple of years, prompting speculations that he would take over the mantle from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the future.
"As a leader you will find people around Virat benefiting from his fighting spirit. Six years ago India never had that fighting spirit. Then there was one or two tours where Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar got together and tried to show the world the fighting spirit.
"I think Virat can take on any opposition in the world but having said that could probably could be his downfall as well and he needs to understand what is his strength and weaknesses," he said.
Jennings further said he saw similarities between South African captain Greame Smith and Kohli as they lead the team from the front. Since Gayle, Kohli and A B de Villiers use a lot of balls upfront, it becomes very difficult for young players in the side to get opportunities, unlike in other sides where youngsters get opportunities early on, Jennings said.
"However I don't mind if three of my big guns are facing most of the 120 balls and helping us win matches," he said. Jennings further said Saurabh Tiwary is definietlty an option for selection tomorrow as he has been playing IPL for the last four to five years.
Replying to a query, Jennings said his relationship with his boss Vijay Mallya is good "I am really happy that my boss is really that close to the action because I don't have to go and explain about the match in a meeting. "The more he is involved it is better for me. He supports my staff and the captain. This year I feel a lot more comfortable. I am enjoying the working relationship with the boss at the moment," he said.
Replying to yet another question, Jennings said there is a lot of talent in India. "But just sense there is not enough of that pressure for younger guys to get the taste of international cricket."
Jennings said Zaheer Khan was getting stronger, but he did not want him to push him early into the tournament. "Zak is looking good. We are planning down the line and making sure we look after his energy. He is very experienced and very close to Virat," he said. "Hopefully, Cheteshwar Pujara will be back in the next ten days," the RCB coach added.